Hoi An banh mi eatery suspended for three months after mass poisoning

By Dac Thanh   October 3, 2023 | 04:36 am PT
Hoi An banh mi eatery suspended for three months after mass poisoning
The banh mi Phuong eatery in Hoi An, Quang Nam has closed down since September 13, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh
Famous Hoi An banh mi eatery Phuong has been suspended for three months and fined VND96 million ($3,935) for food safety violations following a mass poisoning incident.

Le Tri Thanh, chairman of central Quang Nam Province, issued the punishment decision on Truong Thi Phuong's banh mi stall in Hoi An on Tuesday for certain food safety violations. The eatery had not followed food quality check standards as stated by law, which includes storage of food samples and appropriate tools for trash disposal and food preparation.

In September, 313 people, including 103 foreigners, showed food poisoning symptoms of headache, fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea after consuming banh mi from the eatery. 273 people had to be hospitalized, and all have been discharged. There were no deaths.

After the incident unfolded, the eatery had compensated victims by paying their medical bills.

Besides the suspension and the fine, the eatery would have to pay victims their medical bills, as well as costs incurred by transporting food samples to the Quang Nam Food Safety Authority. The compensation to the victims must be done within 10 days since the decision was issued, Thanh said.

Around 3,600 people had bought banh mi from the Phuong eatery on September 11 and September 12. The cause of the poisoning was determined to be Salmonella bacteria in various ingredients, based on food and fecal samples sent to the Nha Trang Pasteur Institute.

Phuong, 60, owner of the popular eatery, said the place had been operating normally on September 11, and every step in food processing was monitored by her every day.

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